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Saturday, September 30, 2023
Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.'s philosophy "everything is amazing and nobody is happy," may be a factor of technology's growing role in our lives.

The trouble lies in technology

I probably won’t vote in the upcoming presidential election (that’s a story for another week), but if I did, I’d definitely write in comedian Louis C.K, star of the FX series “Louie.”


I love Louis C.K. not because he’s exceedingly funny (though he is), but because of how uncompromisingly honest he is, both in his stand-up and his TV show. His TV show is less of a sitcom and more of an evaluation of himself and society. It’s a refreshing break from most of the comedy we see today, which often panders to familiar stereotypes of geeks, masculinity and social class. In summary, the entire CBS sitcom lineup.


Whenever I watch Louis C.K.’s stand-up special “Hilarious,” I can’t help but be struck by how poignantly accurate he is when he describes the chief problem with our society: “Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.”


Specifically, he says that despite our generation observing unprecedented gains in technological achievement in our lifetimes—resulting in the rise of the Internet, cell phones and (ZOMG) Internet on cell phones—people still find ways to get upset at the awesomeness that surrounds us.


We act like it’s a national disaster when Charter’s crappy  wireless connection goes down because HOW DARE Charter interrupt our “Angry Birds” game! We get incensed with rage when our phones can’t get service because HOW DARE Verizon prevent us from sending “wazzuppp girlll” at lightning speed. As Louis C.K. says, we think the world still owes us something even after it has already bestowed these awesome things upon us.


That’s why it’s worth wondering if we’d be better off without all these technological contraptions in our lives. The obvious answer is probably no, we’re not better off, since every civilization in human history has made advancements from its predecessor on the premise that life was more difficult the further you venture back into history.


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As such, it would be a pain in the ass to gather actual books and periodicals for a paper rather than typing keywords in an online database, and it would be similarly less convenient to show up at some location hoping you meet up with a particular person rather than just texting them to tell them where you are.


But from a humanist standpoint, I don’t believe we’re necessarily better off. We have seemingly everything we could want literally at our fingertips, but I think that’s actually the problem. Because we can reach out to our friends via text message or through social media, our ability to converse in-person has taken a turn for the worse. With increasing regularity, we are using text messaging as a proxy for avoiding face-to-face interactions that would be awkward or create anxiety because of the unpredictability of how those types of interactions might go. Text messaging gives us the opportunity to craft our response in a way that reduces the chances of putting our foot in our mouth.


Ladies and gentlemen, what we are witnessing is the wussification of America. Too shy to strike up a conversation with that girl in your English class? Text her some bullshit sweet nothings. Turned 21 but don’t want to buy alcohol for your underage friend? Wait until 10 p.m. and text, “Sorry dude, didn’t have my phone on me.” Co-worker wants you to take their shift tonight? Don’t respond.


I’m certainly guilty of such behavior, too. Hell, the main reason I write this column is because it gives me a platform to raise grievances that I wouldn’t have the balls to air out in the open.


All of this harkens back to Louis C.K.’s thesis that “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” We have all these amazing tools at our disposal, but because of the extreme degree to which we rely on them, we get upset when they fail us. All while overlooking the fact that as recently as a few years ago, we had the capability as humans to work around such failures ourselves.


So the next time your phone is getting poor reception when you’re sending a text message, before you get all pissy, can you just give it a second? It’s going to space, after all.


Better yet, just go out and try to have a real conversation with that person.


Want to have a conversation with a real person? Specifically, want to have a conversation with Adam? Oh wait, it would be via his email,—the Internet rocks.

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